Link between gambling and sick kids, claims Dr Lance O'Sullivan

  • 11/02/2018
Pokie machines
Pokie machines. Photo credit: Getty

Former New Zealander of the Year Dr Lance O’Sullivan will present a key note speech at the International Gambling Conference next week, highlighting the relationship between gambling and the day-to-day work of a GP in a community affected by diseases of poverty.

"Pokies make my job harder," said Dr O’Sullivan "There is a direct link between addiction to pokies and sick kids.

“It’s bad enough that we have diseases of poverty in a first-world country like New Zealand, but to see them exacerbated by pokies is extremely frustrating. This is the definition of a preventable epidemic"

Dr O’Sullivan is a special advisor to Māori Public Health organisation Hāpai Te Hauora, experts in gambling harm prevention.

Hāpai Te Hauora, Kera community engagement adviser Sherwood O’Regan will also present at the conference, exploring the opportunities presented by digital engagement tools to support communities to be free from gambling-related harm.

"Pokies and gambling have a massively negative effect on our whānau at all levels and we know that has to change.

“What is needed is to equip communities with accessible tools that whakamana and enable them to advocate for themselves, and we are excited to see how social and digital technologies can play a role in that."

The International Gambling Conference IGC2018 is being held in Auckland, February 12-14. Registrations are still being accepted.